Work Zones vs. Kitchen Triangles

Rhonda Thornton

Ever since the invention of the refrigerator, most domestic kitchens have been designed in a triangular format. The kitchen triangle is typically three clear sides with necessary appliances—the fridge, the oven, and the sink. The idea was that this setup allowed for a more efficient, accessible workspace. But – is the triangle kitchen outdated? 

Many designers have begun to stray from the traditional triangle design favouring work zones. Zones allow for more creativity and more individuality — after all, these days, many people have unique appliances and needs, and the triangle is no longer a logical setup.

Here are some tips from Bloomsbury Fine Cabinetry on ditching the kitchen triangle and building an efficient kitchen by leveraging the work zones concept.

The food preparation zone

If you’re splitting the kitchen into work zones, first think logically about the activities regularly completed in the kitchen, then create zones based on these tasks. Essentially – ask the customer how they use their kitchen daily. This will be different for everyone as people’s needs will be unique.

One activity that just about everyone does in their kitchen? Cooking! So first and foremost, the prep zone is required. In this particular work zone, users will likely need easy access to the fridge and cupboards, require ample chopping space, and want to be close to the sink to wash food. The customer may also want to be near the garbage/compost to easily dispose of any food waste.

We love incorporating the Panama Chef Station by Zomodo into the food preparation zone. It is functional, versatile, and has a contemporary look and feel – plus its width is only 5″, which leaves ample room for food prep.

The cooking zone

A second integral space in the kitchen will be the cooking zone. The essentials here are the stove, microwave, and toaster, along with ample storage for other countertop appliances such as an air fryer or a blender. This zone should also have easy access to cooking utensils and should be incorporated next to the food preparation zone to transition between the two easily.

Spice drawers are also great to incorporate into the cooking zone. When placed beside the stove or range, it will inevitably make the entire spice rack more easily accessible when cooking. 

The serving zone

Next up is the serving zone. This is where you’ll plate the food or lie out heirloom dishes buffet-style. This zone should consist of adequate counter space and drawers with cutlery and napkins. A butler’s pantry – or servery – makes for the perfect serving zone if space allows. It acts as the transition space between the kitchen and formal dining room and is ideal for plating, prep, and cleaning up. Not to mention, a butler’s pantry is the perfect space to store linens and formal dishware, making this space a true one-stop-shop for all entertaining and serving needs. 

If the kitchen space has a smaller footprint, the food preparation zone can double the serving zone.

The eating and living zone

Many kitchens these days have space for activities other than cooking – hello, open concept! There may be a small breakfast table, a sofa, or even a TV. Create a separate zone away from cooking areas where family members can relax and unwind.

The cleaning zone

The kitchen should also have a space for washing and cleaning up – we know, the “not-so-fun” zone, but cleaning must be done. This zone should include the sink, drying area, and dishwasher. We love incorporating Home Refinements by Julien’s Fira Fireclay Sink with Accessory Ledge into cleaning zones. Thanks to its great accessories, the cleaning zone will transform into a proper workstation from a drying rack to a grid and cutting board. This sink will instantly elevate the functionality of the cleaning zone. 

Use an island to connect the zones

If the kitchen includes an island, this central point is the perfect place to bring all of the zones together – there is room for drawers, counter space, a few appliances, and even stools for sitting and eating.

The takeaway

So to answer the question – is the triangle kitchen outdated? Yes. Dividing the kitchen up into intuitive zones is the perfect way to make the space more efficient and feel less cramped. Plus, it’s a great way to give the space a more modern feel.

Rhonda Thornton is the Creative Director and co-founder of Bloomsbury Fine Cabinetry, along with partner Robert Thornton, Master Cabinet Maker. Bloomsbury is a Canadian-owned boutique-style cabinet shop that is dedicated to the English tradition of luxury handmade craftsmanship offering clients a truly bespoke experience. For over 20 years, Bloomsbury Fine Cabinetry has been recognized as one of the premier companies practicing the true art of Custom Kitchen Cabinetmaking.

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